Student Research Spotlights in Arts and Humanities


Elena with a green background
Photo courtesy of Elena Blackwelder

Elena Blackwelder, ‘23: “White Women and Civil Rights: The Sisters Were Only In It For Themselves”


Please describe your research.

“My research focuses on the tensions between white feminism and womanism, which emphasizes intersectionality and advancement of BIPOC women. By using various movies and TV shows, I discuss how interracial female friendship inherently places the emotional burden on women of color and mainly serves to make white women feel more positively about themselves.”


Why did you decide to conduct undergraduate research while at Meredith?

“Research was not something that I knew I was interested in when I first came to Meredith. After completing some smaller projects in classes, I realized that it gave me an opportunity to dive into more specialized topics or a subject that might not perfectly align with my majors.”


Why did you decide to participate in CSA Day?

“I think that CSA Day is a great way to recognize how the Meredith community is made better every year by its students. Something cool about the Undergraduate Research Program is that all summer researchers present at CSA Day and at a conference off-campus, which helps us to build new skills.”


What are you most looking forward to on CSA Day?

“I’m really looking forward to seeing my friend’s presentations and hearing more about their topics of interest.”


Is there any advice you would give to future CSA Day participants or undergraduate researchers?

“Don’t be afraid to ask a faculty member for help on a project that you’re interested in! Research is such a great way to challenge yourself, and there are a lot of professors who want to help you.”



Adriana Sofia Gomez
Photo courtesy of Adriana Sofia Gomez

Adriana Sofia Gomez, ‘22: “Political Violence in Venezuela: Does Oil Policy Fuel the Fire?”

Please describe your research.

“The purpose of this investigation is to explore causes of political violence in Venezuela today. The research focuses on the role historical factors of Venezuelan and global politics play in the crisis that has been occurring for years now. This will hopefully determine the impact of poor oil policy decisions, a drop in revenue or a combination of both.”


Why did you decide to conduct undergraduate research while at Meredith?

“Because it was required for my thesis! I was inspired by many of the presentations I saw my freshman year. I was lucky enough to be in an Environmental Policy class with Dr. Rogers, and he helped and inspired me to continue research so that I can present on CSA day my senior year. Also since I am from Venezuela, I wanted to learn more about the situation and raise awareness about it.”


Why did you decide to participate in CSA Day?

“I wanted to participate not only because of the promise I made to myself four years ago but also to allow students who are from Latin America learn more of what is occurring. My goal is to inspire young Latina and minority students to show up and make space for themselves in an environment that is not usually welcoming. I also wanted to give a shout [out] to my parents; they have seen me work hard over the years and I wanted to present them something that they could relate to, understand and see what they have worked so hard for.”


What are you most looking forward to on CSA Day?

“Seeing everyone’s research! For those who may not know me I am a very inquisitive person! I love learning and asking questions and I feel like this is the perfect opportunity for me to do this!”


Is there any advice you would give to future CSA Day participants or undergraduate researchers?

“Academia is not welcoming but as minorities we need to take up space and open the doors to those who are following us. We need to show our community and others that we are more than capable while continuously being our authentic selves.”


Bliss Wells in a green shirt
Photo courtesy of Bliss Wells

Bliss Wells, ‘23: “Representation in Theatre: The Power of Visibility and Equity on Stage”


Please describe your research.

“The impact of theatrical representation has been evident through recent productions and their success on stage and eventually in film. In this research presentation, I am exploring the impact of representation on marginalized groups by presenting data from current Wake County students and through resources expressing the value of representation.”


Why did you decide to conduct undergraduate research while at Meredith?

“I felt so disconnected from the world the past two years to a point where I wasn’t seeing what was happening in my field. I wanted to research a topic that would not only teach me about what’s happening in theaters but also that I could connect to through current events.”


Why did you decide to participate in CSA Day?

“My faculty suggested it and I said ‘why not?’ Sometimes it feels like there aren’t many opportunities where I can share my passion for theatre and the need for change in our systems. I know I can talk about how hard it is for me as a Black queer woman in a theatre space, but to see how others face similar challenges through my research reaffirmed how important it is to have visibility and representation.”


What are you most looking forward to on CSA Day?

“I’m looking forward to sharing my research for professors, future educators and people who will lead in their profession. I want them to see the importance of representation in the classroom and in the media. I look forward to sharing this part of me I’m passionate about.”


Is there any advice you would give to future CSA Day participants or undergraduate researchers?

“I would encourage students to participate if they have a topic they are passionate about. If you aren’t passionate or interested in what you are researching, I’d take the time to find a topic you are and present then. Also, I found it helpful for me to give myself strict deadlines and to take it one step at a time.”



Krista with a violin
Photo courtesy of Krista Wiese Telford

Krista Wiese Telford, ‘22: “The Faces of Circe: Enchantress, Seductress, Goddess”


Please describe your research.

“Under the guidance of Dr. Robin Colby for the English Department, I surveyed over a dozen depictions of Circe from Homer's 8th century B.C. epic. While many scholars have focused on specific depictions of Circe, I aim to provide a broad overview of her appearances in literature from Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ to Madeline Miller’s 2018 novel Circe.”


Why did you decide to conduct undergraduate research while at Meredith?

“I conducted this research to serve as my work sample for my PhD in English applications. The work started as a seminar paper and grew into a longer research project since I was so fascinated by my topic. As I am a senior, I wanted to take advantage of the wonderful support network and guidance I have prior to graduating.”


Why did you decide to participate in CSA Day?

“I am proud of the research I conducted and want to share the knowledge I gained with other people. What I discovered about the influence of women writers on Circe's identity was inspiring and empowering to me.”


Is there any advice you would give to future CSA Day participants or undergraduate researchers?

“Research and long-term projects are meant to be shared, and your hard work deserves appreciation. My advice is to take advantage of the opportunity to share your work with a supportive and enthusiastic audience.”


What are you most looking forward to on CSA Day?

“I’m looking forward to sharing my research for professors, future educators, and people who will lead in their profession. I want them to see the importance of representation in the classroom and in the media. I look forward to sharing this part of me I’m passionate about.”


Is there any advice you would give to future CSA Day participants or undergraduate researchers?

“I would encourage students to participate if they have a topic they are passionate about. If you aren’t passionate or interested in what you are researching, I’d take the time to find a topic you are and present then. Also, I found it helpful for me to give myself strict deadlines and to take it one step at a time.”


Interviews compiled by Aminah Jenkins, Associate Editor, and Melissa Taylor, Staff Writer

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